Mothers of Dragons

by Leila Brillson

Promo poster for 'House of the Dragon' features Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke in royal robes as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, pictured against the background of a dragon's eye
Image: MAX

This may cancel me in certain circles, but: House of the Dragon is what Game of Thrones should have been. 

After Game of Thrones suffered one of the steepest and sharpest falls from critical grace of all time, the creators of the new spinoff series wisely decided to just, well, let the girlies fight. This is Game Of Thrones, But For Messy Bitches Who Love Drama. 

Like Cersei watching the torching of King’s Landing while placidly sipping wine, the end of Thrones felt like watching the destruction of a legacy. (I think that’s what she did. My once-near-encyclopedic Thrones knowledge gets reeeal fuzzy in Season 8.) The original show failed spectacularly for many reasons, but the one most often proffered is that the showrunners had no idea where the story was going, because…nobody did. George R.R. Martin hadn’t yet finished writing it.

But House of the Dragon—or Hot D, as my group chat calls it—has a completed story to draw from, one where actions are clearly sketched out and the writers could bring a new narrative to life in a stable, coherent context. This allowed them to focus less on ensuring continuity and coherence and more on the mess. 

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